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Psychology

How Instant Gratification Was Sabotaging My Dreams (And How I Overcame It)

This might sound strange to you, but many of you may recognize yourself in this, so I wanted to share it with you.

I’m Melissa, and planning is not my forte.

In fact, for years, I was obsessed with instant gratification.

If it didn’t have some component of instant gratification, I wasn’t interested.

My parents and teachers all said the same thing from as far back as middle school.

“You need to learn to set goals, plan for the future, accept delayed gratification.”

It was no use.

So, naturally, this made me a horrible planner and someone who would happily procrastinate on tasks that needed to be done now if they didn’t give me some sort of immediate reward.

And no, the satisfaction of a job well done was never enough.

Sadly, that was me until about six months ago, and I’m 38 now!

This preference for self-gratification has influenced every area of my life, from personal relationships to my professional career.

I was a social butterfly

Partying people

All my friends knew that if they needed a partner to do something, I would always be game.

While this certainly allowed me to share many experiences I may not have otherwise, it was also an excuse to procrastinate on some task that I knew needed to be done but didn’t want to face right then.

On the other hand, my friends were also used to me flaking out on trips or activities that had been planned for a long time.

It got to the point where they were surprised if I actually showed up, and they were even more surprised if I actually brought what I said I would bring.

This had its element of humor, but the truth was, my friends couldn’t rely on me to do what I said I would do.

Ironically, though not surprisingly, when you think about it, if it was a last-minute event happening within a few days, I was more reliable.

This made for a fun but frantic personal life.

I never spent enough time with people to grow really close to anyone, so I ended up with several groups of friends that were more like close acquaintances but no real close friends I could count on in a pinch.

Not surprising, since I was always so scattered that no one knew where I would be at any given time.

Working for The Man

You would think that this flightiness would prevent me from keeping a job for any length of time, but I was fortunate enough to find a job that fit my lifestyle.

I traveled within a particular area selling products for a drinks distribution company.

I was good at my job and made some decent money.

I worked with this group of men who seemed to be sitting around doing nothing but made more money than me. This really bugged me.

So, I decided I would go my own way.

I had several friends/acquaintances who did well for themselves selling beauty and CBD products, so I chose on the spur of the moment that making and selling my own soap would be my new business.

I had some background in sales and business development, so I figured I could get up and running without much prior planning.

Falling Back to Reality

Woman looking through window

My business started well enough, and for a time, I continued to work my sales job at the same time.

Eventually, though, I gave my notice and made my soap business my soul occupation.

But I quickly ran into a problem.

I didn’t have enough time in a day to grow my business, make personal sales, and actually make the soap.

I was working seven days a week and running myself ragged.

I had offers from others to help me scale up my business, but I stubbornly committed to doing everything myself.

Eventually, I ran out of gas.

I came down with an illness that took me out for months.

Suddenly, I had no income, and I couldn’t afford my healthcare.

Going back to my old job was not an option, and I had no one to reach out to.

I was forced to apply for government healthcare and nutritional assistance, two things I never saw myself doing, and that caused me huge embarrassment.

I told no one, not even my parents because I knew what they would say.

Fortunately, I was able to work out an arrangement with my landlord, so I wouldn’t end up on the street.

I was determined to make another go of my soap business, but I had no desire to set myself up for another failure.

I liked to think I had learned from my mistakes; I had processes and contingencies in place to prevent what happened last time from happening again, but still, I couldn’t pull the trigger.

I could probably find another job doing what I was doing before, but that felt like giving up.

I spent many sleepless nights going over and over in my head what would be the best way forward, but I found myself stuck in limbo.

Getting to The Source

Then I ran across a questionnaire as I was browsing the web that asked probing questions about my behavior.

In just a few minutes, Sensa was peeling back the onion, asking me questions that made me examine my thought processes and why I couldn’t seem to make a decision and run with it.

Guided by psychologists and wellness professionals, it used my data to create a custom plan that would enable me to rewire my thought process, to face up to unpleasant tasks right away, and to learn to plan for the future and accept delayed gratification with the same zeal as instant gratification.

To some people, this is elementary; to me, it was vital info that no one had taught me in school.

Though my parents had tried, I was always headstrong and wanted to learn by doing.

It didn’t take me long to discover that what was paralyzing me and preventing me from taking action was that overriding fear that somehow, even though I thought I had covered all the bases, something would go wrong again, and I’d find myself right back at square one.

Sensa gave me a path forward to put an end to my indecision and restart my business.

Snapping Out of It

Woman posing at seaside

Though it did take me some time to consistently follow the guidance the plan provided, the email-based approach meant that I would always be reminded to keep up with my assigned tasks.

As days turned into weeks, I started noticing the difference in situations I would encounter every day.

Three months later, I was finally able to pull the trigger and restart my soap-making business with the proper infrastructure in place.

Personally, I’ve been able to find a middle ground between enjoying new experiences and appreciating what I have in life.

This has allowed me to deepen my friendships while still exploring what’s out there.

Overall, Sensa has allowed me to leave behind my unsustainable, potentially destructive lifestyle and rewire my brain to execute tasks without delay while still planning for the future.

The results, both personally and professionally, have been priceless.

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Results may vary due to personal features.

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